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As Congress debates the way forward on another deal to keep the government open and funded, congressional immigrant rights champions are sending a strong message to members of both parties to live up to their pledge to protect Dreamers. Below are comments from Representatives Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL) and Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) on why protections for Dreamers must be addressed:
After the House passed a spending caps measure late yesterday, Congressman Gutiérrez noted that it would be “a complete betrayal” if House Minority Leader Pelosi (D-CA) asked Democrats to support a spending caps deal without a DACA agreement. Leader Pelosi today announced her intention to vote against any deal that doesn’t include a solution for Dreamers.
In the same vein, Congressman Gallego, in an interview with NPR, called on Democrats to do “everything we can” to protect Dreamers. In his plea, he referenced the ongoing promises – first in December, then January, and now in February – from Congress and the White House to pass a permanent solution for Dreamers.
Rep. Gallego continued:
We have to come to the realization that we have to fix this and give some certainty to these young men and women.. about what is their status in this country…At the end of this day, we have to come to the realization that this has to get done.
For the defense hawks in the House, it should be an easy decision. As veteran Gallego noted:
There are 1,000 [Dreamers] in the military right now and another 10,000 who are veterans. When we’re talking about taking care of our military, we seem to forget that we’re about to deport 10,000 veterans.
In a follow-up interview on CNN’s New Day this morning, Rep. Gutiérrez identified the root of the DACA issue: the White House. In addition to Trump’s back-and-forth on whether to protect Dreamers or use them as bargaining chips, it’s clear that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly doesn’t “have an understanding of the [DACA] policy.” Kelly also revealed his “lack of love and of warmth” for Dreamers with his disparaging remarks regarding DACA-recipients yesterday.
Added Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
Trump and his co-conspirators created this crisis, but it’s time for Congress to end it. For nearly six months – since Trump ended DACA in September 2017 – Dreamers have lived in an untenable limbo. Democrats and Republicans alike must not support a spending caps deal without protection for Dreamers.